Harnessing the Power of Leadership: How Guide Dogs Teach Us About Leadership

Published: Oct. 12, 2023
Guide Dogs
Leader Dogs for the Blind presenter Richard “Buss” Brauer spoke to Domino’s team members in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Oct. 4, 2023 about how leading a guide dog and leading in a corporate setting have similar recipes for success, as shown here.

In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Domino’s disability employee resource group, SOAR (Seeking Opportunities Above Resistance), partnered with Leader Dogs for the Blind to bring guest speaker Richard “Buss” Brauer to Domino’s World Resource Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Oct. 4, 2023. Buss spoke to Domino’s corporate team members about how he learned to be a better leader from his relationship with his guide dog. The skills he acquired allowed him to excel in his career, holding executive positions in human resources, talent management and organizational development. And although Buss is now retired, he likes to share his knowledge with others.

Throughout his career and after it, many people have asked Buss what a guide dog has to do with leadership. His answer is simple.

“They’re incredibly intelligent,” he said. “They have to be the cream of the crop, the best of the best. They’re incredible animals, but they can’t do their job if the person holding onto the harness handle isn’t an elite leader, because they don’t know where I want to go.”

Buss said this directly ties in with leading in the corporate world as well. Being a successful leader of a guide dog or of team members is not as easy as it may seem. For the relationship to work, it takes recognition, guidance, trust, adaptability and much more – something that Buss would call “the secret sauce.” Throughout the event, Buss presented various situations where each of these qualities were tested, what he learned from the experience and how it related back to leadership. Attendees were able to walk away from the presentation with a new toolkit worth of leadership perspective and guidance.

As a thank you to Leader Dogs for the Blind for their heartfelt dedication to the disability community and for providing greater independence for countless people around the globe, Domino’s presented them with a $5,000 donation at the conclusion of the event.

Afterwards, attendees were able to visit with canine ambassadors and leader dogs in training, while also learning more about Leader Dogs for the Blind and how they could continue to be engaged with them in the future.

Learn more about Domino’s inclusion and diversity efforts.